Episode 29: March 12, 2010
by Linsey Knerl
Thought that magazine cover price was the actual price for your favorite magazine? Think again! We’ve got the tips to help you save up to 90% off the original newsstand price for all your mags.
Whether you like home decorating ideas, car reviews, or the latest celebrity gossip, chances are good that there is at least one (or two) magazines you’d love to subscribe to. Unfortunately, when budgets tighten, they are often the first guilty pleasure to go--but they don’t have to be! Read on for my best tips for getting your magazines for far less than you’d expect.
How to Get Magazines for Free
You heard me: you can actually get many of your favorite magazines for nothing--and you won’t need your credit card number to sign up. Though the freebie method of getting mags is far less reliable than purchasing a membership, it can be a budget saver. You won’t be able to plan ahead for a soon-to-expire existing subscription, and it may take up to 8 weeks to get your first issue, but if you don’t mind the wait, it’s well worth it!
Since they want your business, they may be willing to go as low as 50% off the quoted price--with or without your extending your subscription by a year or two more.
I suggest perusing all your favorite daily deal sites like Deal Seeking Mom, Wise Bread Daily Deals, or Money Saving Mom, and look for their magazine deals. Once you’ve found one that you’d like to sign up for, check to see who’s fulfilling the magazine. Popular and legit sites include:
RewardsGold.com - Though this site allows new members via invitation only, the invitations are easy to come by. RewardsGold lets you sign up for a full year of magazines subscriptions each time an offer is introduced. In exchange for your mailing info and a few consumer-focused questions (what kind of eyeliner you wear, for example), you will get a full year of featured magazines for absolutely no money or credit card info. I’ve taken advantage of this deal multiple times, and past subscription offers have included TV Guide, Newsweek, Woman Day, Parents, and Ladies Home Journal.
Mercury Magazines – You’ll most likely run into these offers as a freebie from one of the freebies and deals sites we mentioned above, but once you see one – act right away. These offers will go very fast! You’ll be asked to answer questions about your line of work to see if you qualify, but for most people, your answers should not influence your eligibility. You can also visit the home page directly at any time to see if you qualify for any offers, but the pickings are usually slim unless they are running a special promotion. Past offers have included Fitness magazine.
ValueMags – This site is another one that freebie boards mention frequently. You can go directly to their offer main page to see what’s being offered. Even if there aren’t any good print magazines at the moment, their selection of free digital subscriptions are always fairly decent.
How to Get the best Magazine Deals Online
Now that you’ve exhausted all the free alternatives, (or you just don’t see the specific mag you want being offered) you can go out and comparison shop for the best deal on the magazines you want. We have several favorite sites for super-cheap magazine deals, but the price will always vary based on the day and the magazine. We recommend:
Amazon.com – This mecca of magazines offers great deals on most magazines every day, and during certain times of the year, gets ridiculously cheap with their subscriptions. Check the Magazine page to go directly to any offers, and don’t forget--you can always add magazine subscriptions to any existing merchandise order to get you to that magical $25 free shipping threshold!
Best Deal Magazines – Just one of many magazine clearinghouses, I’ve ordered from them numerous times with great results. Most of their magazines are marked down into “buckets” of $4.69, $5.95, and under $10. They also offer gift cards, which can make a great gift for someone whom you want to give a subscription to, but aren’t sure what they’d like.
Magazine Price Search – If you know what magazine you want, but you simply want the best deal, this clever search tool may be your best bet. Simply type in the name of the magazine you want, and it will give you prices for over 12 of the most popular magazine sites. (Hint: This is especially useful if you are looking for a specialty magazine that is not offered on very many sites.) It will also tell you which sites DON’T carry the title.
How to Negotiate Your Existing Magazine Subscription
Many people fail to renew their subscription before it runs out, and notice that they need to only when the magazine stops showing up in their mailbox. If you’re willing to be a bit proactive and a bit more assertive, you can use your ending subscription to your advantage. Whether you get your magazines for free, or you buy them outright, chances are good that you’ll get a phone call or card near the end of your subscription begging you to renew. What you may not know is that there is usually room to wiggle on the renewal price. Since they want your business, they may be willing to go as low as 50% off the quoted price--with or without you extending your subscription by a year or two more. If you know that you’ll want to keep getting the magazine for a long time, this can be one of the quickest ways to lock in a low rate without ever missing an issue.
Don’t forget to visit QuickandDirtyTips.com to sign up for newsletters and alerts, or subscribe to this podcast through iTunes, Zune Marketplace or your favorite podcast aggregator – you’ll never miss a tip! As always, you can send us your questions, comments, and tips to email@example.com or call 206-426-1615. We’re also on Facebook under “The Dealista!”